As it kicked off a new term, the U.S. Supreme Court did not shy away from controversy. Its first case, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, could have significant implication for campaign finance reform.
The case revolves around aggregate contribution limits to federal candidates and political committees. Under federal campaign finance restrictions, individuals cannot donate more than $117,000 over a two-year election cycle. This includes $46,200 to a candidate for federal office and $70,800 to other entities, of which no more than $46,200 may go to non-national-party committees (state parties and political action committees).
While the Court’s Citizens United decision held that the limits on independent campaign spending by unions and corporations violated their First Amendment free speech rights, it reasoned that campaign contributions were a constitutional way to limit political corruption. However, the same five justices that ruled against campaign finance reform could do so again.
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